John Bates’ Final Years, Part 1

This is part one of the final years of John BATES’ life.  For those of you just getting here, I’ve posted several times about my maternal 3rd great grandfather, John.  My initial post about John is here  and it gives you the background you’ll need about John’s life.  My cousin visited Rock Island (where we thought John had died) and he guest-wrote a blog post that you can find here.  On a trip to Georgia I found some documents related to John and wrote about some of those here.  Recently I made another discovery that initiated this blog series about John and you can read that post here.  The initial timeline for the final years of John BATES is included in that post but I was able to create a more accurate timeline that will serve as the outline for this series and I posted that here.  Since I posted the updated timeline and this post on a Tuesday, I will try to continue posting John’s story installments on Tuesdays just to keep things simple.  Today’s post will begin with the early years of John’s first enlistment and will go through Battle of Mill Springs in 1862.  So let’s get started.

The Beginning of the End

John’s initial enlistment was on 10 November 1861 and was supposed to last 6 months.  He enlisted with Company C, 10th Georgia State Troops, Walker’s Brigade, Army of State Troops (Captain was John OATES).  According to the Murray County Museum records, John fought in a battle at Murfreesboro, Tennessee, was captured at Tullahoma, Tennessee, and died at Rock Island (Illinois- the Union military prison camp).  There are notes on this document that the company reorganized and went into Confederate service in May of 1862.  They became the 3rd Confederate Regiment, Company F, Wharton’s Brigade, Army of Tennessee (the unit that John enlisted in for his second enlistment; also captained by John OATES).  My theory is the Murray County Museum records are incorrect.  I think it’s too much of a coincidence that there was a John BATES in both units and both units had John OATES as their caption.  Both John BATES’ enlisted at Spring Place, Georgia.  I’m not saying it’s beyond the realm of possibility that there were two in the same unit.  I just don’t think it’s probable in this case.  None of my research so far has indicated that my theory is incorrect.

Murray County document John Bates enlistment

According to the Georgia Archives website, the Captain of Company C of the 10th Regiment Infantry, Third Brigade of the Georgia State Troops was Captain John OATES.

georgia archives document john bates enlistment

Records for this unit show that John BATES was called into service on 16 December 1861 as a Private.  He joined for duty and was enrolled on 16 December 1861 at Spring Place, Georgia by Captain John OATES for a period of 6 months.  (I’m aware this information conflicts with the November date and I’m trying to get it all figured out.)  This document shows he was last paid by Paymaster Major Lamar through 31 January 1862.  It’s interesting to note that on this document John’s name is crossed off and the remarks state, “Details to Napier Battery February 8 1862”.  There are several possibilities for “Napier Battery” and I’ve been unable to determine which unit is being referred to here.  Two websites discuss possible units: Tennessee Genweb website and  Tennessee Genweb website.  Hopefully in the near future I’ll be able to solve this problem.

company c ga state troops john bates

On the far right of the document you’ll see John BATES’ signature in the section showing payroll from 31 January 1862 through 31 March 1862.  I do believe that is actually John’s signature since the guy above him  has a “his mark x” note beside the name and John’s signature doesn’t have that notation.

john bates signature

Please note this copy of the same document.  John’s name is not crossed out on this copy and it shows that he was paid $12 per month.  (Tennessee Genweb)

John Bates payroll 2

In addition to those details, the remarks section says, “Details to Napier Artillery February 8 1862”.  (See discussion above about Napier Battery.)

During the payroll periods of 16 January through 31 March 1862, the 10th Regiment, 3rd Brigade was stationed at Camp Jackson.  There were a number of Camp Jackson’s in existence and I haven’t been able to narrow it down more than that yet.  One thing I enjoyed about this document is the description of Captain OATES’ assessment of the unit.  He graded the unit fair in discipline, good in arms, fair in instruction, competent in accoutrements, good in military appearance, good in clothing.  (See bottom left corner)  For the initial period from 15 December 1861 to 31 January 1862, Captain OATES had rated the unit like this: discipline tolerable, arms good, instruction tolerable, accoutrements complete, military appearance tolerable, and clothing tolerable.  (Georgia Archives)  One additional fact for that initial period from December 1861 to January 1862 is that John was paid for 1 month and 15 days at $11 per month for a total of $16.50 in pay.  He was also given $10 for clothes.  Third Lieutenant T. R. BATES witnessed John’s receipt of payment.

muster roll 10th regiment

You can find the muster roll page with John’s name on it here.  He’s number 17.

I am checking into ordering Confederate military records but am not sure what exists for this time period other than what I’ve found online.  I will come back to this time period in John’s life if I find more information at some point.

What is more certain about this time period is what was going on in the United States and in the war in general.  In November of 1860, Abraham LINCOLN was elected president.  On 20 December 1860 South Carolina seceded from the Union, quickly followed by six other states.  On 9 February 1861 the Confederate States of America was formed and Jefferson DAVIS was appointed President.  He was sworn in as President of the United States 4 March 1861.  (History Place website)  In April of 1861 Confederate forces fired shots on Fort Sumter, thus beginning the Civil War.

Confederate States of America Cabinet

Harper’s Weekly, 1 June 1861; found at Son of the South/Lee Foundation website.

The Battle of Fishing Creek in Kentucky

**Please note that I have no documentary proof that John was in this battle.  Records have been hard to come by for his units.  I can only look at his enlistment dates and presume that he was here based on where his regiment was stationed at this point in time.

In early January of 1862, troops began congregating around Mill Springs, Kentucky.  Kentucky was important to both sides and the side that won Kentucky would have a definite advantage in the war.  A battle ensued there on 19 January 1862.  The Confederates called it the Battle of Fishing Creek.  The Union called it The Battle of Mill Springs and, since the winner is the one that gets to write the history, it became the Battle of Mill Springs.

Confederate troops had marched much of the night through cold and rain to advance on Union troops in this area.  Unaware that Union troops had just received reinforcements, the order for Confederate troops to advance was given at midnight on 18 January 1862.  At 6:30 the next morning, the battle ensued.  Confederate guns were not firing consistently in the rain.  One estimate given was that only about one-fifth of the Confederate weapons were firing.  (Mill Springs Battlefield website)  Weapon issues, along with cold, mud, rain, and fatigue from marching all night were some of the major issues the Confederates faced in that battle.  Confederates camped and tried to regroup that night but realized they could not hold their position and survive.  They crossed back over the Cumberland River to safety in the middle of the night that night leaving behind all of their artillery, wagons, camp equipment and most of their horses.  In that battle, the Confederates suffered twice as many casualties as the Union.  The bodies of two Confederate officers killed in action (General Zollicoffer and Lieutenant Peyton) were removed from the battlefield and returned to their Confederate families.  The rest of the Confederate dead were left on the battlefield to be buried in a mass grave.  Most of the Union dead were buried in Mill Springs National Cemetery.  You can read the details of the battle and of Confederate Lieutenant Peyton’s bravery before his death at Mill Spring Battlefield website.

gen zollicoffer death

This is a print for sale at philaprintshop.com showing the moment of General Zollicoffer’s death at the Battle of Mill Spring.

Meanwhile, Back at the Confederate Capital

In March of 1862, just a couple of months after the Battle of Mill Springs, Confederate President Jefferson Davis discussed drafting men for service.  In April, the first draft was passed into law and instituted.  The initial Confederate draft required 3 years’ service from draftees.  The draft was not received well.  (Wikipedia)

My initial guess about John’s re-enlistment was that John was drafted and unable to hire a substitute to serve his time and was also unable to buy his way out of service (both of which were permitted by law during the Civil War).  However, initially only men ages 18-35 were drafted.  John was 44 years old.  Men ages 36-45 weren’t required to enlist until September of 1862 and even then, men over 40 weren’t initially accepted.  (Civil War Daily Gazette)   So it appears that he voluntarily joined the second time.  I have found information that says that any man who volunteered before 15 May 1862 was eligible to “organize their own regiments or reorganize existing ones and elect their own officers”  and “receive a $50 bounty”. (Rootsweb Genealogy Pages)  John enlisted the second time on 10 May 1862 and mustered in on 16 May 1862, for Confederate service in Captain John OATES’ Company, HOWARD’s Battalion, Company F, 3rd Confederate Cavalry.  He enlisted in Spring Place, Georgia.  Since John enlisted so close to the deadline, I think it’s possible he had bigger plans to organize his own company or have available the option to reorganize a unit he had previously been in, possibly the opportunity to name his son as an officer, or something along those lines.  If he had bigger plans, those plans never materialized for whatever reason.  A side note on this website states that $50 in 1862 would equal about $1,120 in 2010 so that would be hard to pass up if you were inclined to do the work and needed money.).

The 3rd Confederate was attached to Joseph Wheeler’s division within the Army of Tennessee and they fought under the leadership of Brigadier General Nathan Bedford Forrest.  John enlisted at Spring Place, Murray County, Georgia for a 3 year stint.  (The draft law required a 3 year stint initially.  It was later increased. Some information I’ve read says he was Captain of Company F but resigned.  Other documents I’ve found say he was a Sergeant.  One record listed him as a “4 Sergeant”.  The 4 Sergeant led a section of men within the Company.  I’m assuming he led the fourth section and that’s why he was designated “4 Sergeant”.  There would have been four sections within Company F and each section was led by a Sergeant.

Next Up…Shelbyville, Tennessee

We’ve made it through the Battle of Mill Springs, or if you were John, the Battle of Fishing Creek.  It was intense for me to read all the details and think that someone important in my life was probably there and fighting.  Between now and the next time we meet to talk about John he will have marched from the Cumberland River near Mill Springs, Kentucky all the way to a location near Shelbyville, Tennessee- a distance of 184 miles.  Think about that walk this week and then meet me back here next Tuesday to learn about the next stop on the journey.  I’m looking forward to it.  I hope this week’s journey for us will be easier than the journey was for John.

Until then,

Lisa @ Days of Our Lives blog

Notes: Websites were accessed between 1/16/2018 – 1/29/2018.

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